What is this research about?
In 2018, World Education Services (WES) conducted a survey-based study. They examined the demographic characteristics of skilled immigrants as well as their experience and education, and studied how these factors affect their labour market outcomes. This report is based on that study. The study does not look at employer or demand side factors. It is intended to inform Canadian policy and practice with respect to skilled immigrants, and to increase awareness among prospective immigrants of the factors that are associated with labour force success.
What do you need to know?
The report has three sections:
Section one profiles the respondents’ age, gender, country of origin, entry class, province of residence, years of study, and pre- and post-migration work sector.
Section two examines respondents’ employment outcomes from two perspectives:
Section three explores the implications of these findings for various audiences - policy makers, service providers, and prospective skilled immigrants - and identifies information gaps where further research is needed.
What did the researcher do?
The findings in this report are based on data collected from a sample of people who had applied to WES between 2013 and 2015 for an Educational Credential Assessment and who were subsequently admitted to Canada as permanent residents. The data reflect the responses of 6,402 participants who resided in Canada at the time of the survey, all of whom had been admitted through one of the economic immigration categories now included under the Express Entry system.
What did the researcher find?
The survey results confirmed many of the trends in skilled immigrant employment outcomes that other research has revealed. However, the authors went further, exploring in greater depth those results that related to employment commensurate with skills, experience, and education. They saw both encouraging outcomes and persistent challenges for immigrants who arrive in Canada seeking work that leverages their skills, education, and experience.
On the positive side, more than 80 percent of survey respondents reported that they were employed, most of them in permanent jobs. This result aligns with Statistics Canada data, which show that the unemployment rate for newcomers in 2017 was at its lowest since 2006.
At the same time, the authors note that many immigrants encountered challenges that prevented them from securing employment which fully leverages their skills, education, and experience. Only 39.1 percent of survey respondents had jobs with duties mainly similar in type and complexity to their pre-immigration jobs. Demographics, skills, education, and experience are among the predictors of both employment status and the extent to which respondents had obtained commensurate employment.
How can you use this research?
While the gap between unemployment rates of immigrants and those of the Canadian-born has narrowed considerably, the study results indicate that many immigrants still encounter persistent barriers to commensurate employment in the Canadian labour market. The results of this research point to many opportunities to further refine policies and practices so that skilled immigrants can more fully contribute their skills and education to the Canadian workforce. Specifically, policy makers and practitioners need to gather information and data that will allow stakeholders to effectively address several key concerns: